GIVE TO THE WORLD WHAT YOU HAVE

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

Acts 3:6.

Do not focus so much on what you do not have, that you lose sight of what more you have – even in such abundance and to share. Peter and John knew what they had, despite what they lacked.  They were frank about what they lacked, yet they were not going to let anyone blackmail them with that particular lack.  They were not going to let anyone put them under the unfortunate stress and pressure of a struggle to ‘also give’ what they didn’t have, just to meet some outsider’s sudden public expectations.

They didn’t have what the lame man was expecting from them at that Beautiful Gate; they had what he wasn’t expecting from them – what he had never received from anyone.  They didn’t blame him for it.  They stood self-confidently firm in the face of that man’s apparent public challenge.  One lame man’s lame expectations were not going to shift their blessed focus to what everyone else usually gave flamboyantly at that ‘Beautiful’ location to no significant change in the place and the man.  Sometimes the general perspective to life, a negative and paralysing perspective, can be a forceful option, but an option all the same.

Peter and John were going to give something different, something unique, something that that man had never received, and they were not going to be apologetic about it.  They gave it, commanded the man to rise up in the “name of Jesus” –  which was what they had – and they proceeded promptly to put out a helping hand to jack him up, giving him no chance to debate the appropriateness or otherwise of their unexpected gift (vv. 7-8).  Before anyone could catch their next critical breath, the man’s life had been transformed – but not by silver and gold as he had always hoped.

That you have neither silver nor gold does not define you as poor – as having nothing in life to give.  Don’t let others put you down for what they have, different from what you have.  Everybody has something to give to their world, but each one’s gift comes in a different package.  Some gifts are material, like silver and gold; others are not material yet are great and eternal, like “the name of Jesus.”  If we all had the same gift to give, the world would be a very boring place.  If we all had the same gift to give, how would we get from place to place? Who would treat the sick?  Who would rule the fool?  Who would keep the restaurants where loving families rendezvous at times? And who would have been sending you this to read?

Come to think of it: according to Peter and John, “the name of Jesus” is also a possession – “such as I have.”  It’s a treasure comparable to and even more than “silver and gold.”  When others flaunt silver and gold ‘such as they have,’ don’t be intimidated from announcing ‘such as’ you also have.  All possessions are not in the pocket or the purse.  All treasures are not stored at a bank.  Some treasures are of such rare value they are spared from naked eyes.

Everyone has something to give.  Nobody has nothing to give.  If you should give what you don’t have, the world could call you fake, or even think you a thief.  Some have a voice, some have a skill, some have a face to show – a face that frontpage magazines are searching to see; some have legs to run at the Olympics, and others a leg to play soccer.  Some have the silver and gold for building the house of God, others the skill for designing those treasures according to the patterns of God.  Some gifts may be felt, like silver and gold; others can’t be touched with mortal hands, yet kings may come from afar seeking it, like the wisdom-possession of Solomon (1 Kings 4:34).  Who told you you were poor?

How did Esther become queen if all that mattered was silver and gold (Esther 2:15-17)?  How would the Good Samaritan have funded his care if he never had silver and gold? (Luke 10:35).  Get all the silver and the gold; get “the name of Jesus,” too.  Give the world what you have, and “the name of Jesus,” too – that rare possession to make a difference at those splendid gates of life where silver and gold fail. “… such as I have give I thee …” Amen.

 

From The Preacher’s diary,
February 3, 2021.

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